seville orange cake: to celebrate the spring sunshine

seville orange cake
Like many people in this country, I am somewhat obsessed with the weather. Let's face it, it is perfectly possible to have three or four types of weather or even seasons in just one day. I find it affects my mood. The skies over north London have been somewhat fat and grey for the past few days, despite the premature promise of warmer weather last week. I find the whole seasonal will it?-won't it? two-step to spring quite frustrating and it rather subdues my mood.

Even more so when Rupert at o cozinheiro este algarve tells a charming story of just rustling up a lemon cake from the lemons in his garden. A few days later he writes of making marmalade from a glut of home-grown lemons, Which frankly I think is just boasting! Pah!

But before I was wallowing too much in my seasonal misery, a neighbour popped round with a bag of Seville oranges." I thought you might like to make some marmalade." she said. "Well you thought wrong," I said (it came out more politely than it sounds!) I am not very partial to marmalade (whoops, that rustling sound is my Scottish marmalade-loving mother turning in her grave) but I do like baking cakes. A lot.

Something vibrant but simple. I wanted sunshine on my tongue, but something not so unconventional that my neighbour, who is generous but very conservative in her food choices, would turn up her nose at a slice of citrusy cake delight. (Seriously this woman can pinpoint an alternative ingredient at four hundred yards and crinkle her nose in disgust!)

Now if you have never done this before, weigh out the ingredients the old fashioned way. Take the eggs and weigh them. Whatever they weigh, match their weight with equal measures of butter, sugar and flour. So for example, if the eggs weigh 250g, then 250g each of butter, sugar and flour. It guarantees good results every single time.

The sun came out and the cake was divine.

Seville orange cake
Skill level: Easy
Serves 6 - 8

250g butter, softened (at room temperature), plus extra for greasing (I use salted butter) - see directions
250g caster sugar (I use home-made vanilla sugar) - see directions
4 x medium-sized eggs - see directions
2 tsp finely grated orange zest
250g self-raising flour - see directions
6 tbsp freshly squeezed Seville orange juice (If using ordinary oranges that use two thirds fresh orange juice to one third fresh lime juice)
125g icing sugar, sifted
5 teaspoons freshly squeezed Seville orange juice

  1. Take a 22cm clip-sided round cake tin and lightly grease with butter. Line and grease the removable bottom with baking paper.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170C / Gas Mark 3.
  3. Weigh out 4 medium-sized eggs.Then weigh out an equal weight in butter, sugar and flour.
  4. Ensure that the butter is well softened but not melted - I use an electric whisk and whisk for about 2 minutes before adding the sugar.
  5. Add the sugar and cream the butter and sugar together until the mixture is pale and the sugar has started to dissolved. The mixture will be both pale and less gritty. This will take about 5 minutes.
  6. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat well in between adding each egg. If the mixture looks as if it might be curdling then add some of the flour and continue to beat before adding more egg.
  7. Beat in the orange zest.
  8. Fold in the flour and ensure that it is mixed in.
  9. Mix in the orange juice.
  10. Pour or spoon the cake batter into the tin and bake on the middle shelf for about 45 to 50 minutes, or until a skewer, when inserted into the centre of the cake, comes out clean.
  11. If the cake looks as if it is browning too quickly, then cover loosely with a piece of foil.
  12. Leave the cake to cool, in the tin, on a wire cake rack.
  13. When cooled, unclip the tin and remove the sides, then the base.
  14. Carefully peel off the paper.
  15. Make the icing by mixing the sifted icing sugar with the orange juice until thick but spreadable. Spread over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Leave to set.
  • Since the Seville orange season is somewhat fleeting (from December to early March), you can substitute the Seville oranges with standard oranges topped up with a teaspoon or two of fresh lime juice.


Elaine said...

This is exactly the cake we need to perk us up. If it tastes half as good as it does in my imagination I shall be a really happy woman. Thanks!

The Owl Wood said...

ORANGES! All kinds! For some peculiar reason I never eat oranges AS oranges (yuck!) but I love orange - orange juice, orange chocolate, orange cake... please forward a sample with immediate effect, c/o ...

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Elaine - can I say that this cake definitely cheered me up!

Owl Wood (Ian?) - I'm with you on this. Oranges no, orange juice yes, yes, yes!

Jaime said...

What a gorgeous cake! Simple and yet, sounds totally irresistible. Great post, I am going to take your advice and try weighing out ingredients the old fashioned way.

Elaine said...

As a small child, in Hong Kong, Owl over-indulged. 'Nuff said.

Patricia (La Chatte Gitane) said...

I don't have seville oranges, but I do have ordinary ones and very,very sour clementines. I might just make this cake this afternoon. Gosh, I need cheering up as I feel I'm stagnating and dull as ditch water atm.

Maggie said...

I sometimes use this method, especially if I think my eggs are on the small side. My kind of cake and one I can imagine myself eating outside in the sunshine..........

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Jaime - I find the weighing method foolproof particularly if my medium sized eggs look a bit on the small size.

Elaine - I have visions of Owl Wood surrounded by amahs, pinching his chubby pink cheeks and tending to his every whim!

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Maggie - a great sunshine cake, but pretty good for spring - a promise for the summer to come!

o cozinheiro este algarve said...

Boasting Moi?!!!!!!-Pah. Thank you for the links.This cake sounds deelish.I am going to make it tomorrow for the weekend.I will have to be quick as the tree rats are eating all the fruit on the trees. and herald the spring sunshine.Its actually cold and grey here at the moment, but never mind.

Shaheen said...

Citrus bursting cake to welcome the spring sunshine, well it just sounds perfect.

Fiona Maclean said...

yum! I've had an orange cake made for me (for a birthday), but never found a recipe. This one makes you feel sunny just looking at it!

Now, I just need an excuse to try!

James Brewer said...

Cakes with orange in are great. I recently made a marmalade cake. It brings a great bit of sunshine to you on the darkest of days.

Janice said...

I can imagine how tangy and delicious your cake must be. Nice job, we may not have lemon trees in our gardens but we sure know how to cook with citrus.

o cozinheiro este algarve said...

This cake is phenomenal.I have just made it and am about to cut myself a second slice.Its light and airy and with subtle bitter citrus undertones.It does exactly what you say.How could this not cheer anyone up?Please everybody make it and see for yourselves

GG said...

I've often fancied making something with Seville oranges but I don't like marmalade either. This looks like a great cake and my chance to try Seville oranges. GG

The Viking said...

On this grey and windy day I need this cake right now

Anonymous said...

It could hardly be raining harder. I needed sunshine so I made your cake. It worked. Though it's still raining outside :(

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Hi Margaret - still raining but at least you have cake!

BTW really enjoying your adventures in France! I loved the post about regional language and accents!